The election of Donald Trump as U.S. president could add to the turbulence Europe is already experiencing from its persistent debt crisis, the rise of nationalist political parties, and Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, analysts told a Harvard conference.
At the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies’ annual Summit on the Future of Europe on Monday, speakers agreed there are no easy solutions to the upheavals that have buffeted the continent’s economy and raised concerns about the survival of its democratic traditions. The outcome of the U.S. elections adds to the uncertainty.
“These are desperate but not hopeless times,” said Charles Maier, the Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History at Harvard, alluding to Trump’s election and the overall rise of populism both in Europe and in the United States.
“Unfortunately, we are still in the midst of the most serious crisis in the history of European integration,” said Jeffry Frieden, professor of government, noting that the “European Union and the Eurozone in particular is still in the grips of a devastating debt crisis with extraordinarily sweeping economic and political implications.”
But while differing on the best approach, speakers said there are strategies that European leaders can follow to ease the crisis atmosphere.
The daylong event featured sessions on European democracy, the Eurozone crisis, security and foreign policy challenges, and the future of the European Union, along with a keynote address by European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.